Photography Tips

The 10 Most Important Photography Questions: Answered

September 22, 2021

After 10 years of doing this photography business thang, there are certain questions I get again and again both about the profession and the craft of photography! People wonder about the camera settings, how to master editing, and what my advice might be to start their own photo biz. And truth be told, I LOVE […]

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I'm a photographer, educator and soon to be podcaster. I left teaching in the classroom to build a thriving photography business. and inspire and teach other like-minded women how to build, scale, and create a photo business.

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After 10 years of doing this photography business thang, there are certain questions I get again and again both about the profession and the craft of photography! People wonder about the camera settings, how to master editing, and what my advice might be to start their own photo biz. And truth be told, I LOVE getting these questions! It fills up my cup to talk creativity and photography whenever I possibly can.

The 10 most important photography questions I get asked:

So today, I’m digging into the most common questions that slide into my DMs or inbox on the reg, so that you can feel confident if you’ve been curious about learning photography or starting your own business!

1. What equipment do I need to get amazing photos?

Other than a DSLR camera, you don’t need a TON of gear to get incredible and quality photos. There are lots of high-quality DSLR cameras out there to pick from depending on your experience level and goals. Check out this post with my favorite cameras and other recommended photography accessories! 

Other than the camera, though, the only other thing that I strongly recommend getting is a 50mm prime lens. It’s a great and versatile starter lens that can get you a wide variety of awesome photos.

2. Do I have to edit my photos?

In short, yes, you really do! While you can take pretty impeccable photos with just a camera, think of that as the first draft of the image. The editing process refines, enhances, and makes the final product so much more balanced. You can tweak lighting, tone, saturation, and so much more when editing so that you get the look you desire every single time. 

Every photographer develops an editing style unique to them. Some are more artistic while others are more clean, so it’s important to play with editing settings to see what your style is!

3. Why is shooting in manual important?

When you shoot in manual, it means you have complete control over how the photo turns out. The brightness, focus, and bokeh (or blurred background) are all things you can adjust with aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. Often, photos that are shot in manual (when you know what you’re doing) turn out much prettier and higher quality than photos taken in automatic. I honestly think everyone with a DSLR camera can (and should!) learn how to shoot in manual!

4. How do you get a blurry background and sharp focus?

Trying to get your subject in focus and blur the background is the goal for most photographers starting out, but it can be tricky to master! But once you get familiar with your camera settings, I promise it becomes second nature.

To focus on one subject, you can toggle your focus points by manually choosing where you want to focus within the frame. Each camera has different focal points available to choose from, but usually you can pick close to your subject so that they remain in focus. Or, you can use back button focus which is where you assign another button on the back of the camera to activate focusing on the camera.

5. Do I have to charge money and start a business to take professional photos?

Absolutely not! Many of my students want to learn how to use their professional cameras simply to take better photos of their families for vacations, holiday cards, sports, or other special occasions. It’s such a valuable skill to have and an incredible creative outlet, even if you don’t want to start your own business.

6. What’s the difference between JPG and RAW images?

You can set your camera to capture JPG images, which is a common file format for digital photos, but unfortunately it doesn’t capture as much detail as RAW does. RAW files are unprocessed, uncompressed images that allow you to have complete control over the editing process. They are often larger files but many photographers prefer to shoot in RAW.

7. How do I learn how to pose people naturally?

Posing simply takes practice to grow your confidence! I like to give prompts more than poses when I’m shooting families, so instead of, “Smile and look this way” (pose), I’ll say, “Everyone tickle little brother!” (prompt). You’ll get into a groove and style for what you like after you work with different people and feel out what is most natural. It also helps to think through a few posing ideas before a shoot so you don’t draw blanks when it’s go time.

8. What is white balance?

White balance (in the simplest terms possible) just means that the colors in your photos are true to real life. If they’re “off,” meaning they’re too gray or orange, it’s likely that your white balance isn’t set up correctly. There are a few ways to adjust the white balance on your camera: you can manually set a custom white balance, allow your camera to do auto white balance, or even set your own Kelvin temperature directly.

9. When is the right time to start a photography business?

If you want to start a photography business, I am your biggest cheerleader to go for it! However, I strongly recommend being able to first take consistent, high-quality photos and work professionally with clients (meet deadlines, communicate openly, etc.). When you have the confidence and consistency down, all that’s left is to go out there and market yourself to start attracting dream clients!

10. Can I pursue photography and still have time for other things I love?

One-thousand-percent YES! While it’s easy to get caught up in running a business or launching a creative hobby like photography, I think it’s just like anything else… If you create clear boundaries and define your priorities and goals, it makes saying no and taking time away from your photography work that much easier.

Try to stick to a schedule and don’t overwork yourself or overbook your calendar. Creative careers can be so fulfilling and fun, but you need to make sure you’re also building in time for YOU. That’s just as important in this endeavor!

Ready to finally tackle your DSLR camera and learn how to shoot in manual?

Get all the information for my Photo101 Digital Course HERE!

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I’m Jillian Goulding, a photographer and educator raising babies and building my life in Sacramento, CA.

Over the years, I’ve transformed my side hustle into a thriving photography business that has taken me and my camera to the beaches of San Francisco Bay, the pages of People Magazine, and the screens of Extra TV.

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